Bruce Lee’s “Secret” Six Pack Ab Exercise

September 11, 2007

I read an article in a magazine about 10 years ago about an ab exercise that Bruce Lee used to do to help him get six pack abs. I forgot the name of the exercise, so I did a Google search, a Youtube search, an MSN search, and finally a Yahoo search. This exercise in nowhere to be found on the internet, so I’m calling it his “secret” exercise!

Bruce Lee Six Pack Abs

Bruce Lee Had Phenomenal Abs!

He was one of the first movie stars of his day to truly have amazing abs. Even by today’s standard his abs are very defined. I really enjoyed watching his movies. If you are young and haven’t seen any of his stuff, you can go over to and watch many of his best clips.

So What is his Secret Ab Exercise? Here You Go “Daniel-San”!

So I’m going to call this exercise “Breath of Dragon”, because it sounds really cool. I could picture a wise Kung Fu instructor telling his young student (with a newly shaved head) about the “Breath of Dragon” in a remote temple up in the mountains…LOL! It is a breathing and ab flexing exercise that builds tone in your abs by increasing the mind-to-muscle link.

The “Breath of Dragon” Explained

First you want to breath in. Then you want to simultaneously flex your abs hard while breathing out. Here is the trick…you want to purse your lips and make it a bit hard to force the air out. It should take you about 5-10 seconds to force all of the air out. As you let the air out of your lungs your abs should have the ability to flex harder and harder.

What the Heck Does This Do?

This exercise “sharpens” up your abs quit a bit. You will want to practice this in front of a mirror (at home please). Once you have expelled all of the air, you abs should look defined (provided your body fat is low enough). What happens is that over time, your abs will look this way even when you aren’t flexing them!

The “Breath of Dragon” Increases the Mind-to-Muscle Link in Your Abs

Have you ever thought about what is involved in flexing a muscle? Your brain sends nerve impulses to your muscle to command that muscle to flex. Do you have a certain muscle that is easy for you to flex? That muscle has a strong mind-to-muscle link. What is the most toned muscle on your body? Most likely it is the muscle that you can flex the easiest (the one with the strongest mind-to-muscle link). How do you increase the mind-to-muscle link in a muscle that you want to tone? Practice flexing that muscle! ***Please Read The Above Paragraph Twice…Nobody ever talks about this concept!***

Tips on Improving the Results You Get With “Breath of Dragon”

You can practice this exercise daily, since there isn’t any muscle breakdown like you get in resistance exercise. I like to do it in front of the mirror after I take a shower in the morning. You only need to do it once or twice…just try and see if you get better at flexing your abs over time. You will get a much harder contraction if you make a super tight fist while you do this as well.

But…Bruce Lee Did a Bunch of Other Ab Exercises as Well

I really don’t recommend most of the other exercises that Bruce Lee did to get six pack abs. He did a bunch of exercises that will put your spine in jeopardy over time. I used to do just one exercise for my abs, which gave me a great six pack… “Plank” Article With Video. I added the Breath of Dragon to my routine about 3 weeks ago and I see a noticeable difference already!

Note: Don’t confuse this exercise with “Dragon Breath”! To Learn Dragon Breath, don’t brush your teeth for a few days and breath out near the opposite sex. Dragon Breath is a really poor exercise, so I’m not going to recommend it!

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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

brock July 28, 2008 at 6:03 pm

hey do you know anything about psi/chi

matt March 20, 2009 at 8:04 pm

did u read his toa of jeet kune do? i am such a fanatic that i have thought about making a church of bruce lee. lol i really do respect him and would love to have regular 1 on 1 training sessions with him bruce stopped doing iso workouts because he got slow

chris May 12, 2009 at 3:21 am

this exersise remindes me of the horse stance used in martial arts. in movies the master would often have student stand with legs apart toes pointed forward in a squat position with arms straight in front of you normaly holding weights in each hand, like bukets of water. this is a type of indorance training that hardens many muscels in the arms back legs and core. i do not recomend using weight when doing this or injuries may acure. sorry for spelling errers im on a psp rigit now XD

chris May 12, 2009 at 3:32 am

i forgot while doing horse stance in through nose(5sec) out through mouth (5sec). this is done simultaniously with breath of dragon technique

AvD November 5, 2009 at 7:06 am

im gonna give this exercise a go though i dnt think ill stop my crunches

faded January 16, 2010 at 12:52 am

These breathing techniques are golden
The complete breath from the “Yogi Science of Breath” focuses on expanding and retracting the abdomen and rib cage= its a good read

Wayland May 18, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Rusty, how about “Breathing Dragon” or even “Dragon’s Breathing”?

Raymond June 13, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Great article and yeah the dragon breath is pretty funny too.
I’m doing some research on Bruce’s abs because they were amazing
and I heard of something like this before with Conditioning coach Ian King but not like this… thanks for the secret

Nicki July 22, 2010 at 3:34 pm

This is an old yoga practice called breath of fire.

Ab King Fool September 1, 2010 at 6:04 am

I will certainly try this as well. Great blog. So cool.

maureen October 13, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Have been sitting at the computer for a few hours now reading over this blog( and enjoying it). Going back through the posts at topics of interest. Now I am just laughing my ass off…Dragon breath… . Thanks for putting all this info in one place and directing us to other places of interest. A sign of a good teacher is one who believes we can learn from many different people. Not just the one-know-it-all.
Thanks again.

Prashant January 1, 2011 at 3:06 am

This excercise is an age old Indian traditional yoga which is called “kapalbhati”. you can search up the net for elaborate descriptions and magical effects beyond wash-board abs :)

Abdominal Pain Symptoms April 9, 2011 at 3:26 am

very interesting dicussion… this is easier said than done, right? =) thank you, Lord, for extra diligence! =)Abdominal Pain Symptoms

Tobi June 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I stumbled on this site after hours of searching for content to develop my abs and I must say that it’s a Godsend. I havn’t tried the techniques mentioned above yet but I’m trusting that they’ll work. God bless every person that put his/her two cents on this page. great post about Breath of the Dragon, Rusty. You’re da bomb man!

Brandon July 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Hey, thanks for the work outs! I’m a cross country runner that runs 3-4 miles daily. I really find abs intriguing so I’d like to develop my own ( I went from 150lbs to 130lbs!. :) I hope this produces some results to tighten up my waistline!

Tammi September 22, 2011 at 12:38 am

I was investigating the new lifestyle lift, that I recently heard about, for my sagging neck. I may try Bruce’s workout plan first because I heard that doing ab type workouts will also strengthen you neck and sagging jaw line. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Sunny November 4, 2011 at 8:40 am

The “breath of dragon” as Rusty would call it, is technique we also use in martial arts to prevent getting the wind knocked out of you or gain back your lungs after getting hit in the solar plex!

Personal Trainer Mumbai November 19, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Nice post … :)

Kyle - Tricking Your Metabolism December 13, 2011 at 11:54 am

Wow, I just did this while sitting in my office chair at work and I’m REALLY surprised at how tense it made my abs feel! That’s so crazy!

Thanks for the tip!


Olkquilla Smallwood January 14, 2012 at 9:38 am

Thats great I’ve been doing stomach vacuum for years, my only problem was the body fat covered my abs. If you were to press the side of my stomach (without me flexing) you can feel a brick wall.

isometrics March 15, 2012 at 10:19 pm


May I ask a question? After u breathe out and finish ur first rep, could u let go of ur tensing as in like if u r doin 10 reps of breath of dragon,should u keep ur abs tense all the way for all 10 reps or could u like say tense for first rep, relax the tension then tense again for 2nd rep then relax and so on for 10 reps?

paragon March 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm

if u want to know bruce lee real secret of how he became like water you will need to study the 5000 year old art of qigong,,,,qigong is the key to evry style of kungfu,,,, please anyone who wants to become healthy as can be should really study qigong and put it to practice,,,,,, google (microcosmicorbit qigong)

conor G April 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm

hey, i do karate as a sport and i have the right mind to have a big muscils i want to look like a model with 6 pack abs i can see the groves but i want to see them in more detail what do i do thanks for your help :)

Matt April 16, 2012 at 12:55 am


How long will this take before i can see a difference, i have an 8 pack when i flex i just can’t seem to get it to show unless I’m flexing.
Do i have to do this for a month before it shows at all or a week or what?
I’m 16 with a low body fat % .
Could i just do it like 10 times a day and in a week will it work?

Sherry Osborn July 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Always do different ab exercises to shock your body. You don’t want your body to get used to the same routine every time you work out. In the end, you will accomplish the best results!

gordo August 5, 2012 at 5:08 am

I remember hearing about this long ago too. It works great. I’m an airline pilot and do ab routines while flying. Flex and contract at 370, much more intense workout than planking or crunching!

jacob September 26, 2012 at 3:45 am

there called isometrics the’re a tencing exercise you u focus on any part Of your body by breathing and flexing the area sorta like a body builder does on stage and in that case what u do in martial arts while punching your self in the stomach to improve your ability to take a punch in the stomach and to train a natural reaction to the action

hisham November 2, 2012 at 5:08 pm
i guess this is the exercise it wa performed by farmer burns who is coach and wrestler yo can find his books at
which is agreat site by the way containing a lot of book and articles about physical culture
Matt furey also mentioned the exercise in his book

Beatris February 10, 2013 at 6:27 am

Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I to find It really useful & it helped me out much. I’m hoping to provide
something again and aid others like you helped me.

Sereyvorn - Build The Body February 18, 2013 at 4:04 am

Interesting article..

Bruce Lee has amazing abs due to this intense training in martial arts (cardio + strength training).

In order to succeed in any type of fighting sport, you’ll need to develop speed, strength and agility. And all that comes with building a super solid core.

Strong core = Strong striking force.

s April 6, 2013 at 8:58 pm

can childern do the breath of dragon exercise

JONATHAN MOORE May 3, 2013 at 8:22 am

Rusty, I have sent my e-mail address for this quite a few times. There has been no result. I would really like this exercise program. What am I doing wrong?

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